Slaughtering Turkeys for Thanksgiving

...n to the complex emotions that accompany the slaughter, instead of shunting them aside. This, he claims, is the hardest part. And that is why he is our teacher. Erik and I first met Steve when we were researching our upcoming book. It’s a how-to book, and we wanted to include how-to slaughter a chicken instructions, and we wanted to present the most humane technique we could find. Homegrown Neighbor introduced us to Steve, and the day we me...

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Build Your Own Furniture

...t what do you do with the rest of the plywood sheet once you cut it out? The same limitation applies to making furniture. Thankfully a generation of designers back in the 60s and 70s left a few highly useful and groovy how-to books on making your own suburban-workshop-modernist furniture with a humble 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. The amazing art/architecture collective Simparch tipped us off to the world of plywood modernism how-to books and we at Hom...

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Kevin West’s Saving the Season

I’m thinking of throwing out all my picking and preserving books. Why? Kevin West’s new book Saving the Season: A Cook’s Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving blows all those other books out of the water bath. Full disclosure here: I’ve tasted a lot of West’s jams. I teach a bread making class at the Institute of Domestic Technology. After my bread demo West does a jam making session and I stick around t...

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Fish Don’t Fart

...ido California and has been working on his aquaponics system for over 37 years. The tag line “Fish Don’t Fart” refers to the benefits of fish over methane generating cattle. We skipped over aquaponics in our book since we considered it too expensive and complicated for most people. But perhaps we should give it closer consideration. Aquaponics is profiled in the pioneering urban homesteading book, The Integral Urban House: Self...

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Eat Food, Mostly Plants, Not too Much

In the course of writing and researching our book, The Urban Homestead, coming out this June, we learned a lot about contemporary agricultural practices. And what we learned sure ain’t pretty. It has made our trips to the supermarket, to supplement the food we grow at home, a series of moral dilemmas. Where did this food come from? How was it grown or raised? What are these mysterious ingredients? Our book contains practical how-to advice...

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Shoemaking Advice?

...o fit store bought shoes anymore. Don’t get excited, shoe questioners: I’ve got nothing for you. I’m asking for help. Have any of you made your own shoes? I’m looking for good resources on shoe making: books, videos, etc.  I’d also love to hear stories of successes or failures or lessons learned. I’d like to make leather, soft-soled shoes as first project perhaps moccasins, perhaps something more structured. I...

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Urban Homestead on Craigslist. Act Now!

I’ve always been uneasy with the moniker “urban homestead.” It’s the title of our book (what else could we have called it?), but it’ not really accurate. The activities we describe are also practiced by suburbanites and people in rural places. And “homestead” is not technically accurate–all the readers of our book, I’m fairly certain, either own or rent their property. The term is also load...

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Broom Corn–or is it Broomcorn?

...me our brooms come from China now–and most broom corn you buy probably comes from Mexico. It was also not uncommon for folks with a bit of land to grow a stand of broom corn to keep them in brooms. Again, from the 1908 book: …it is often cheaper to raise a patch of broom corn and have the boys make it up on rainy days, than to buy the brooms ready made. While home-made brooms may not be as handsome as the “boughten” ones,...

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How to Plan a Vegetable Garden

...sing only those veggies that have done well in the past and that we like to eat. A planning form from Ecology Action Deciding How Much to Plant To decide how much to plant I rely on the charts in John Jeavons’ book  How to Grow More Vegetables . I took his three day Biointensive gardening class early last year and recommend it highly, especially for learning how to use the, at first, intimidating charts in the book. Jeavons handed...

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Announcement: Process Media/Feral House Party this Thursday in Los Angeles

Thursday, December 9, 6-9  La Luz de Jesus Gallery,  4633 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.  Free.  (323) 666-7667 Attention Angelinos (and folks nearby): Our incredibly groovy publishers, Process Media, and their sister company, Feral House, are throwing a holiday party this Thursday. We’ll be there, just hanging out. If you don’t know Wacko/La Luz de Jesus, it’s a combo art gallery, book store and novelty shop. You could ge...

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